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Q & A

Some common questions about acupuncture are answered below. Call us if you have other questions or if you are interested in improving your life through acupuncture treatment.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an effective form of health care that has evolved into a complete and holistic medical system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive medical system to diagnose and help millions of people get well and stay healthy.

An acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints on the body. This activates the body’s Qi and promotes natural healing by enhancing recuperative power, immunity and physical and emotional health. It also can improve overall function and well-being. It is a safe, painless and effective way to treat a wide variety of medical problems.

What will my acupuncturist do?

During the initial exam a full health history will be taken. Questions will be asked regarding symptoms, health and lifestyle. Your acupuncturist also may check pulses and your tongue and may conduct a physical exam. This information is then organized to create a complete, accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of where Qi has become blocked or imbalanced. After the interview process, an acupuncturist will place the sterile needles, and leave you in a restful position in your treatment room for 20 to 25 minutes before returning to remove the needles. Visits with your acupuncturist may last from thirty to ninety minutes.

Why do they want to feel my pulse?

There are twelve pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for twenty-seven individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.

Why do they want to look at my tongue?

The tongue is a map of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue.

Why did my acupuncturist recommend herbs?

Herbs can be a powerful adjunct to acupuncture care. They are used to strengthen, build and support the body or to clear it of excess problems like a cold, fever or acute pain. Your practitioner may suggest starting with herbs and then adding acupuncture to your treatment in the future. This is suggested to build up your internal strength so you can receive the full benefits acupuncture has to offer.

Is acupuncture safe for children?

Yes. In some instances children actually respond more quickly than adults. If your child has an aversion to needles, your acupuncturist may massage the acupuncture points. This is called acupressure or tuina.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments will vary from person to person. Some people experience immediate relief; others may take months or even years to achieve results. Chronic conditions usually take longer to resolve than acute ones. Plan on a minimum of a month to see significant changes.

Treatment frequency depends on a variety of factors: your constitution, the severity and duration of the problem and your lifestyle. An acupuncturist may suggest one or two treatments per week, or monthly visits for health maintenance and seasonal “tune ups”.

How much does it cost?

Rates vary and depend upon what procedures are performed. It is best to consult with your acupuncturist about costs.

Will my insurance cover acupuncture?

Insurance coverage varies from state to state. Contact your insurance provider to learn what kind of care is covered. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Will my plan cover acupuncture?
  • How many visits per calendar year?
  • Do I need a referral?
  • Do I have a co-pay?
  • Do I have a deductible?
  • If yes, has it been met?

Northshore Acupuncture Center does not bill the insurance company, but will provide a receipt for submission for reimbursement. We accept credit cards from Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts.

How should I prepare?

  • Write down and bring any questions you have. We are here to help you.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing for easy access to acupuncture points.
  • Do not eat large meals just before or after
    your visit.
  • Refrain from overexertion, working out, drugs or alcohol for up to six hours after the visit.
  • Avoid stressful situations. Make time to relax, and be sure to get plenty of rest.
  • Between visits, take notes of any changes that may have occurred, such as the alleviation of pain, pain moving to other areas, or changes in the frequency and type of problems.

How safe is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is extremely safe. It is an all-natural, drug-free therapy, yielding no side effects just feelings of relaxation and well-being. There is little danger of infection from acupuncture needles because they are sterile, used once, and then discarded.

How are acupuncturists educated?

Today, acupuncturists undertake three to four years of extensive and comprehensive graduate training at nationally certified schools. All acupuncturists must pass a national exam and meet strict guidelines to practice in every state.

What can acupuncturists treat?

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of medical problems. Below are some of the health concerns that acupuncture can effectively treat:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Dental pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive trouble
  • Dizziness
  • Dysentery
  • Emotional problems
  • Eye problems
  • Facial palsy
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gingivitis
  • Headache
  • Hiccough
  • Incontinence
  • Indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Menopause
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Migraine
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • PMS
  • Pneumonia
  • Reproductive problems
  • Rhinitis
  • Sciatica
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Smoking cessation
  • Sore throat
  • Stress
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tonsillitis
  • Tooth pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Wrist pain

Does acupuncture really work?

Chris Kessler, LAc describes acupuncture as relieving pain, reducing inflammation and restoring homeostasis by:

  • Promoting blood flow;
  • Stimulating the body’s built-in healing mechanisms;
  • Releasing natural painkillers;
  • Relaxing shortened muscles; and,
  • Reducing stress.

Click here to read the full article.

Acupuncture has been employed as a health care modality for over 3,000 years, and is receiving wide acceptance as a respected, valid and effective form of health care. Both the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the WHO recognize acupuncture as a valid treatment for a wide range of conditions. Even the US Airforce is using acupuncture. 

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 51% of medical doctors understand the effectiveness of acupuncture, and medical doctors refer patients to acupuncturists more than any other alternative care provider.

In their 1997 Consensus on Acupuncture, the NIH concluded “There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine.”

Is acupuncture painful?

The needles used in acupuncture are not anything like the needles you are used to in a Western medical setting. They are extremely thin- they even bend at the touch. Not only does the placement of these needles not hurt, patients report that the acupuncture treatment itself is relaxing.

But don’t take my word for it – check out what my clients have to say:

Here are videos fom clients who had a fear of needles about why they come for acupuncture

Here are some testimonials from clients who had a fear of needles:

OB/Gyn reaction to treatment

Middle school student becomes comfortable with needles

LCSW overcomes fear of needles


Are treatments personalized?

Does acupuncture just treat the symptoms?


Who are your clients?

Our clients are 11 to 95 years old. 30% of our clients are men. Our ideal clients are menopausal women suffering from insomnia and/or anxiety.

Will acupuncture help me sleep?

Here’s what our clients have to say…


Are there alternatives to acupuncture treatments?

The main focus of our treatments at Northshore Acupuncture Center is acupuncture.

However, there are situations where we might provide guasha or cupping therapy in addition to or in place of acupuncture.

We also occasionally place magnets on acupuncture points in place of needles. Please call us at 815-814-1319 to discuss options for your situation.

What maintenance is required after I feel better?

Acupuncture in the Park in Minnesota has summarized the 6 reasons you should get acupuncture regularly:

  1. Prevention – an acupuncturist can notice patterns based on minor annoyances, and correct them before they become major problems.
  2. Proactively heading off a known problem – getting treatment in advance of seasonal allergies
  3. Improved energy
  4. Strengthening your immune system
  5. Keeping your body systems working effectively
  6. Stress relief – Acupuncture in the Park agrees with my client in this testimonial video, if your family would describe your current mood as irritable and on edge, it’s time for acupuncture.

For most clients, we recommend coming in for an acupuncture treatment quarterly, preferably with the change of seasons. However, based on constitution, chronic health issues and lifestyle,  some clients may need monthly maintenance and others may be able to come every 6 months. Clients can decrease the amount of maintenance required by avoiding processed foods, getting regular sleep, and maintaining a regular meditation and yoga practice.

Can I do acupuncture if I’m already being treated by another healthcare provider?

The answer to this question is usually yes because acupuncture is focused on helping your body heal itself naturally and complements other treatments. Its effects are similar to eating a healthy meal or getting a good night’s sleep.

Acupuncture doesn’t need to be done by itself.  The benefits of acupuncture treatments are often noticed by other healthcare practitioners: easier adjustments by chiropractors and/or adjustments holding longer when receiving acupuncture, faster gains in physical therapy or a need for reducing or menopause-acupuncture-01.jpgeliminating medications prescribed by doctors.

This can go both ways; a patient may be stalling in treatment progress with acupuncture alone and a chiropractic adjustment, massage, counselling session or a new medication may get things kick-started and moving forward again.

At Northshore Acupuncture Center, we are happy to partner with your healthcare providers to ensure integrated care.

Why is acupuncture recommended during the change of the seasons?

“To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?” – Huangdi Neijing
Acupuncture has historically been a preventative medicine. An acupuncturist can notice patterns based on minor symptoms and address them before they become a more serious problem.
Qin Shi Huang , the first emperor of China, created a  system where doctors were paid throughout the year, but their payments stopped if their patients became ill.
Acupuncture is recommended at each seasonal change, with a particular emphasis on spring and fall when our bodies have to adapt more dramatically. A seasonal tune up with an acupuncturist can improve overall health by enhancing the body’s immune system to keep illness at bay.  A seasonal treatment can also provide a boost in energy levels, elevated mood and a sense of wellbeing
The changes in seasons place additional demands on our bodies.  The body can have difficulty adapting to the change leaving us vulnerable physically and mentally, and therefore more likely to get sick or depressed.
Call Northshore Acupuncture Center at 815.814.1319 today to schedule a preventative treatment.
Check out this testimonial from a client who gets seasonal tune-ups.